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By the Sword (Magic of the Plains, Vol. 1) Hardcover – June, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
This lively and irreverent fantasy by the designer of the popular MadMaze computer adventure game originally appeared in 1991 as a series on the Prodigy computer network. Setting some of the traditional sword-and-sorcery conventions on ear, Costikyan ( Another Day, Another Dragon ) offers a pleasant diversion for readers with a sense of humor about the genre. Long ago, in a world divided between barbarian tribesmen and more sophisticated city dwellers, Nijon, a young Vai barbarian allegedly fathered by the god Mongoose the Trickster, is cast out of his tribe after being accused of murdering the chief. He and his half-brother, a mongoose, end up in civilized Purasham where Nijon is dragooned into the king's forces. The abduction of the Princess Nlavi by a dragon gives Nijon an opportunity to make his fortune with the unwilling aid of the trickster merchant Mika Nashram, who in turn hopes to introduce capitalism into the dragon community's barter economy, which trades in beautiful young maidens and treasure.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Heroic fantasy with a twinkle in its eye and a spring in its step: the novel version of an on-line computer network serial written by noted fantasy-game author Costikyan. Young Nijon is a barbarian warrior from the plains, and, despite his friends' ridicule, really is a son of the trickster god Mongoose. During his test-of-manhood walkabout, he kills a lioness with his bare hands and, from his divine father, acquires a mongoose familiar, Brother. But during his absence, tribal politics take an unwelcome turn, and Nijon finds himself exiled. He wanders toward the fabled rich cities of the north. On the way he outwits a swindler and acquires a fortune, only to be rapidly relieved of it upon his arrival in the city Purasham. He joins the palace guard of King Manoos, whose daughter Nlavi has been abducted by a dragon. After many adventures, Nijon slays the dragon, enriches himself from the dragon's fabulous hoard, and settles down to live in comfort and splendor, rejecting pleas from his erstwhile fellow- tribesmen to return to the plains. Costikyan makes no claim to seriousness or originality, but his engagingly lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek adventure is expertly tuned and pitched for the fantasy-gamer audience. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
Our young hero is born the son of a god, and carries a prediction that he will lead his people to a bright new future.
And he does. But not the way you would expect. Along the way we learn why dragons capture virgins, the long-term economic ramifications of giving a fraction of your kingdom to the hero who rescues your daughter, and one really amazing thing that can be done with a sharpened stick.
The humor flows naturally, never forced, from the situations and the characters, as this adventure unfolds. Costikyan is an excellent writer, who has labored for years in the obscurity of games writing, with occasional publications in some rather high-brow political policy magazines. (His political savvy only partially shows up in this book, for a better exposure to it, check out 'First Contract').